Why is the army so popular in Pakistan?

Published: December 31, 2011
The writer is a director with Hill Road Media and a former editor of the Mumbai-based English newspaper Mid Day and the Gujarati paper Divya Bhaskar 

The writer is a director with Hill Road Media and a former editor of the Mumbai-based English newspaper Mid Day and the Gujarati paper Divya Bhaskar aakar.patel@tribune.com.pk

With a population a seventh India’s size, with an economy a tenth India’s size, Pakistan maintains an army half India’s size.

In September last year, the BBC reported the army telling the government it would need to spend an additional $1.28 billion. This money, Pakistan then informed the IMF, would come from a 50 per cent cut in the development budget and a 20 per cent cut in the non-development budget, the report had said.

No nation can prosper by halving its development budget. But Pakistanis approve of this. Indeed, they are enthusiastic about it (if they think about it at all) given the army’s popularity. Let us try and understand why.

India’s national anthem was composed in December 1911, a century ago and 36 years before Partition. The anthem announces the geography of India. The first two regions we sing of are Punjab and Sindh. After Partition, of these two states, India got a third of one and nothing of the other. However, the anthem’s words do not seem out of place today. A Punjabi is India’s prime minister, and Sindh and the Indus are how India got its name.

What is remarkable is that even in 1911, Balochistan and the Northwest frontier were not a part of the India of our imagination. The Pathan has always been a foreigner, even as a Bollywood character.

At Partition, few Baloch Hindus were displaced and no Pashtun Hindus, because there were none. These two places were unaffected by Partition. The Partition of India on the west was actually only the partition of Punjab.

Punjabis were savage with one another. Today, few Muslims remain in Indian Punjab, having been thrown out or killed, and almost no Sikhs and Hindus remain in Pakistani Punjab. So it was religious partitioning, but this is unimportant. The partition of Punjab was also a partition of its castes. This separation is its critical aspect and it defines the character of Pakistani Punjab. What had been a stable society in united Punjab became lighter on the side of the castes the Hindus dominated — trade, commerce — and heavier on the side of the peasant castes, which Muslims dominated. It is true that the largest component of all three Punjabi faiths — Muslim, Sikh and Hindu was the peasantry — and it was the dominant component of the British Indian army.

However, the Hindu Punjabis had a very large mercantile population, comprising Khatris, Aroras and the Vaish (Baniyas). They were the creators of wealth and are today all in India. Two of these castes (Khatris and Aroras) were present in strong numbers in the Sikhs. Muslims had very few Khatris and no Baniyas. This is why Pakistani Punjab, though it contains over half of Pakistan’s population, does not dominate the country’s economy.

The economy of Pakistan is commanded by one city in Sindh, Karachi. Over 50 per cent of all government revenue comes from Karachi.

Despite the violence in Karachi, which is mainly of a secular nature, Sindh is more normal than Punjab. One reason for this is because it has a stable society. How? The Sindhi Hindus who left at Partition were replaced by two communities. One was the educated middle class of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the Mohajirs. The gap in the trading community created by the migration of Hindus was filled by Muslim Gujaratis of the Lohana caste — Memon, Khoja and Vora. Quaid-e-Azam was also a Lohana, one of the most talented and prosperous trading castes of India.

This is why Sindh is more normal than Punjab, despite the Mohajir-Pashtun skirmishes in Karachi. Because it is a stable society in terms of balance between those parts that are feudal and those parts that are mercantile. This balance is missing in Punjab.

Pakistanis may feel offended at such reduction in their identity to what might be seen as a purely Hindu currency, caste. However, it is impossible to understand India without being aware of caste and I see no reason why this should not be true for the area that used to be India till 65 years ago.

I would say that the Baloch are a nation, Pashtuns are a nation, Gujaratis are a nation, Tamilians are a nation and Punjabis are a nation. But Punjabi Muslims are not a nation, only half a nation.

How does this imbalance manifest itself in the way Punjab views the army? We shall explore that next week.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (102)

  • Ali Tanoli
    Dec 31, 2011 - 10:38PM

    @Patel sahab,
    I have few muslim patel friends in karachi what caste they belong to i dont know niether do
    i care but i beg to say sir in 1911 punjab expanded to peshawer and thats a reason there is
    nothing to say in national anthem and there are Hindus though not many but still some lives in
    pukhtun areas even in hazara where i am belong to we still have hindu faith peoples in area
    called Derband and i guess we need strong army after we seen the holocoust of 1947 and punjabis were most affected peoples at that time. and i dont care if we dont have bread but
    no body dare to look at us and invade us and we gotta learn lesson from afghanistan and iraq and we know how civilized world is…


  • Nangdharangg Pakistani
    Dec 31, 2011 - 10:45PM

    Aakar Ji it’s a treat to read your thought-provoking piece every time! I salute my soldiers but abhor the Generals – well, MOST of ’em at any rate. More power and a Happy and peaceful new year to you and yours, sir !!! Hats off !!!


  • Nangdharangg Pakistani
    Dec 31, 2011 - 10:52PM

    Can’t wait for next week !!! =D


  • Ajm
    Dec 31, 2011 - 10:53PM

    Lol only in Pakistan do we ask Indian to write in Pakistani papers about pak army
    It’s like asking a north Korean to write about the us army .
    Indian army is more complicated and has hidden programmes like border reserve force
    Last month India announced it was expanding its army by 100,000


  • MohammadAli Ghanghro
    Dec 31, 2011 - 10:54PM

    Are Sindhis a nation? Sindhis have yet to make a mark as a formidable force. The establishment does not allow it to be part of the army. No nation manages to survive without an army.


  • dddddd
    Dec 31, 2011 - 10:57PM

    How does this imbalance manifest
    itself in the way Punjab views the
    army? We shall explore that next week.

    Well I am sure glad you mentioned this. And here I was wondering what the army has to do with this history lesson of yours.

    Calling Karachi stable compared to Punjab’s cities?! I live in Karachi and it is anything but stable. Also a lot of people are going to complain about your stereotypical Hindu obsession with castes.


  • Ajm
    Dec 31, 2011 - 11:00PM

    Pakistan army needed the one billion for fata anti Taliban operations due to American war on terror
    Muslims are a nation I don’t expect a mon Muslim to understand

    Is Iran a nation ? Even with its baloch and Arab and Armenian populations ?
    Is Russia a nation with its Asian population ?

    Is the uk a nation with2 million brown Indiana ?
    And there are many Sikhs in Punjab Pakistan
    The author is trying to find links that don’t exist

    Really poor article , nice try but Jinnah lives on
    Pak army is not half size of India we just have larger number of reserves


  • Babloo
    Dec 31, 2011 - 11:12PM

    The army in Pakistan has usurped all resources and rendered the country a hub of terrorism and penniless. However, Pakistanis, gladly approve of it. What does that tell you ?


  • Cautious
    Dec 31, 2011 - 11:25PM

    Interesting article – needs a new title as it’s misleading.


  • Pinky
    Dec 31, 2011 - 11:51PM

    er so,, why is the army so popular in pakistan??

    um are you saying its coz our punjab doesnt have a “mercantile population”?? call me thick (you wont be the first one ;p) but i cant see the connection at all!!!


  • AsliShasli
    Dec 31, 2011 - 11:52PM

    Sindh is more normal than punjab??? I am compelled to ask the definition of Normal according to the author. Express Tribune should review its policies, difference of opinion is always welcome, also foreign authors but at least those who make least bit of sense. Author seems to be oblivious to the facts on ground in Pakistan, Punjabis are not the predominant force in Army any more, yes Army remains most popular in Punjab, the heirarchy of top army brass is also changing, get your facts straight. Punjab is also home to Siraikis and Hazaara’s, 80 million are not all Punjabis.

    It is clear the author does not understand the complex mechanisms in place, how patriotism for the country is replaced by Love for Army at an early age, how it is thought to young minds that The Real Heros are the ones wearing Khakis, the concept of Superhuman Pakistani Soldiers who can do no evil etc etc. Your analysis is based on fallacy of assumptions, which can not look beyond stereotyping of caste system, pretty similar to the ones done by British or may be this is how an Indian mind thinks. Whatever.


  • p..pakhtoon
    Dec 31, 2011 - 11:54PM

    wel…it seems like a good article… Punjabes in Pakistan are actually either Hindu or Sikhs by nation they converted in to Islam and now called Muslims but they have a kind of their own Islam,,,and if u write anything here in pakistan that is a reality than you are anti-pakistan or Anti-Islam…and if u say somthing about Punjabe Army than God Bless you (u r dead)…


  • Major Usman
    Dec 31, 2011 - 11:58PM

    Get your facts right buddy…..why dont you do an article on what really concerns you…maybe the lower castes in India and how their rights are violated…!!!


  • hedgefunder
    Jan 1, 2012 - 12:11AM

    Patel bhai, one needs to first understand the psychology of the people of pakistan, to really understand. why they would allow their Army so many resources in absence of people’s basic needs? Let alone development, as that would be a dream in their current state!
    Perhaps that may also answer further questions to their attitudes, denials, blame games etc, rather than able to face facts !!!


  • Jan 1, 2012 - 12:17AM

    agree with cautious.

    it is just about as popular as any occupying army can be. there, you have itt aakar!


  • Awan
    Jan 1, 2012 - 12:28AM

    the writer is right about baloch hindus and in fact the only hindus remaining in Pakistan are etnically baloch but is wrong on pashtun hindus.i have heard their used to be hindus in waziristan we know that their are still sikhs in tribal areas.


  • Asjad
    Jan 1, 2012 - 12:50AM



  • Anonymous
    Jan 1, 2012 - 12:56AM

    hahahaha The Article is anything but a Serious one!Recommend

  • faria
    Jan 1, 2012 - 12:58AM

    Does this article have anything to do with PAKISTAN army?Recommend

  • Jaz Singh
    Jan 1, 2012 - 1:41AM

    There are more than a few inaccuracies in the piece, which is indicative of an article on Punjab written by a Gujarati that knows precious little about Punjab. I don’t have time to name them all but just to concentrate on the ‘khatri / arora’ issue…..a few points :
    1) Khatris exist in Pakistan in equal numbers as they do in Indian Punjab. The mass of khatris that converted to Islam in the 18th century changed their ‘caste’ name to khawajas or shaikhs.
    2) Arora sikhs (business caste) exist in Pakistan in almost equal numbers as they exist in Indian Punjab. 99.9% of the Sikhs of the NWFP are aroras.
    3) The economic success of Indian Punjab, that is the people that made it easily the richest state in India, were the Jatts. The clansmen of the Sikh jatts exist in Pakistan as much as they do in Indian Punjab. Recommend

  • Waseem
    Jan 1, 2012 - 1:51AM

    Karachi may provide 70% of taxes buts thats because its the only port for 180 milllion + people . Faisalabad remains the industrial heartland of pakistan. Just because Karachi pays half the taxes does not mean Karachi’s economy is half of pakistan . Even someone in punjab who imports tractors will pay tax in karachi. VERY IGNORANT.
    Thats a basic fact , economic fact . It has nothing to do with the castes of the people of Karachi . Its embarrassing in 21st century to talk about castes

    Nice of the author to miss Kashmir. Is Nepal a nation ? is Sri Lanka a nation ? or is northern sri lanka just part of Greater India ?
    India did not exist before 1947 that is a fact . The British created both pakistan and india, countries like Hyderabad which were actually a few years older than the UK wanted to join PakistanRecommend

  • Gul
    Jan 1, 2012 - 2:35AM

    Indians have a general problem, most of the their perceptions about Pakistani social dynamics are unfounded. One being: “Why is the army so popular in Pakistan?”. One wonders from where the author of this article got this idea about the Army’s popularity.

    Even Punjab did not support their army throughout. In 1970 election army supported Jamait Islami, they got just 3 seats in undivided Pakistan. In 1985 Zia hold a fraud– the so called referendum to elect himself as president, he got less than 5% of the shame referendum. Followed by general elections in which political parties were not allowed to contest and most of the political parties boycotted the process. The apolitical assemblies created by army also did not support the army. Army’s nominated speaker was defeated the very day the assembly meet for the first time and army’s nominated Prime Minister also rebelled against army the day he was sworn in as PM and demanded lifting of Martial Law, and went against army on major issues like Ojhri camp incident and Geneva accord about Afghanistan.

    During Musharaf days army was so ”popular” that they were not able to come out of their barracks in their uniforms and army vehicles. Army again conducted a referendum to make Musharaf president of the country again in this fraud referendum less than 5% voted could be managed by the army.

    Regarding Sindh’s stability again the writer is wrong on his reasons about this stability. Sindh has remained peaceful and tolerant most of the time of its history for different reasons. Firstly Sindh’s population has never been Hindu majority, so there was no class frictions as in a Hindu majority population in most of the India. Sindh has remained majority Muslim population and before it was majority Buddhist population. Sindh’s sufi traditions are well founded even before the Arab conquest. So the Sindh’s relative stability is derived from its Sufi traditions, no class or caste systems and Buddhists peaceful loving teachings etc.

    Sindh has witnessed most of its riots and hatred after partition and migration of people from UP and Bihar, which the writer has classified as: “One was the educated middle class of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the Mohajirs”. Unfortunately this is the class which is blamed for the violence in Sindh throughout the history of Pakistan. Only in Karachi more than 60,000 people have been killed in last 25 years. That much killing one can not see even in Baluchistan or Pashtun areas where there is a war like situation.Recommend

  • Ishant
    Jan 1, 2012 - 2:47AM

    Why do Pakistanis pretend as if they have no castes, caste is not a religious thing but is a South Asian cultural thing, for example you need to listen the songs of Punjab(Pakistan), they are all full of Jatt bragging.


  • Ishant
    Jan 1, 2012 - 2:58AM


    Islam is not a nation, its an organized religion, muslims means people practicing Islam, muslims live from Bosnia to Malaysia and from Senegal to Kazhakastan, do not tell me that you fell one nation with them.

    According to you, Pakistani people, like muslim Jatts, muslim Gujjars, muslim Dalits, muslim Chamars etc. are more related to a guy in Somalia(muslim) than their Hindu counterparts in India?


  • Cynical
    Jan 1, 2012 - 3:07AM

    @MohammadAli Ghanghro

    Have you heard of a country named Switzerland? The have no army and they are surviving, well better than Pakistan.


  • Aamer Khawaja
    Jan 1, 2012 - 3:09AM

    Sowing the seeds of Punjab vs Sindh. Well in Pakistan, its not like Maharashtra vs Rest of India Recommend

  • Munir Ahmad Saeed
    Jan 1, 2012 - 3:33AM

    Thanks mr Akar for a good piece. I believe the topic will need a series of articles, please keep writing if you can. Without being unnecessarily emotional your most of arguments are sensible and true. One Pakistani academic has also given the reason of army culture in Pakistan is that in the WWII Indian contrbuted more than a million soldiers and out of that number 800,000 were punjabis and out of that 64 percent were punjabi muslims. The British completely militarized Punjab because they needed foot soldiers and food supplies for war. You are absolutely right all other provinces such as Balochistan and Sindh, and various others in India such as Tamils are nations but Pakistani Punjab, sans our Punjabi brothers now in Indian Punjab and Haryana are not a nation. Similarly Bangalis in the west Bangal and Bangladesh are one nation. Therefore, they have made themselves Bangladeshis rather than Bangalis to create a separate nation. Being farmers and soldiers predominantly,Muslim punjabis lack a an acumen of mercantile class. We Muslim Punjabis do not have the business instinct of Gujratis and Aroras. Overall Muslims particularly in present Pakistan are less of a mercantile beings. And with partition we have lost whatever little we had. We are still more tribal in approach that affects our ability to be sharp businessmen but that tribalistic nature fits best into army culture that makes them ready made soldiers but that does not mean we are very brave and better soldiers compared to various nationalities in Pakistan and India. Yes Sindh is more business savvy but only in Karachi where the migrant class including the Gujratis excell, however feudal Sindh is as pathetic as Punjab.
    Akar please do not be displeased with some of the baseless emotional comments people have expressed in this place. It is the result of our biased education system which makes everything from India evil.
    Waiting for your next article.
    Munir Ahmad Saeed


  • Observer
    Jan 1, 2012 - 3:34AM


    “Also a lot of people are going to complain about your stereotypical Hindu obsession with castes.

    I am not 100% sure, but I don’t think Aakar Patel is a Hindu.


  • Babloo
    Jan 1, 2012 - 3:45AM

    @faria, you said “Does this article have anything to do with PAKISTAN army?”

    In Pakistan, everything has to do with Pakistan army. The great Pakistani poet said “mojain, mojan, charo taraf faujain fauja” ( fun all around with army all around ). The state and its people seem to have the sole purpose of serving the army. Whatever has happened to Pakistan today and reduced it to what its today can primarily be attributed to the army. Period.


  • Max
    Jan 1, 2012 - 3:51AM

    The Editorial Board: Please check the factual errors before putting the op.ed on the web or sending it to the press. There are serious factual errors in this essay. Baluchistan was not a separate province before independence and had a residency status. The NWFP became a province only in 1920s. Both the NWFP and Baluchistan had substantial Hindu population. The Punjab, at one point extended fro Delhi to what is today called Durand Line. A large number of converts from trading communities still go by their ancestral subcastes including the editor of this newspaper. Just a few to mention are Mohals, Bhatts, Dutts, Bhardans, Chaichis, Munans, Sehgals, and not to mention Patels. Recommend

  • Hu Jintao
    Jan 1, 2012 - 4:40AM

    Well this aaker patel guy needs to focus more on his own country’s army which is eating up resources at fast pace.

    Pakistan have spies even within indian army’s rank. What do you got to say about that?


  • Hu Jintao
    Jan 1, 2012 - 4:44AM

    Do you even have any clue what you are saying?


  • Troll be gone
    Jan 1, 2012 - 4:49AM

    ET and its NY Times agenda …………..


  • usman
    Jan 1, 2012 - 6:06AM

    It is ironic that the author brings up the Indian anthem which lays claim to territory in Pakistan and then continues to wonder why we need an army?

    Patel Sahib, 700,000 Indian soldiers are subjugating an area we consider our province. Indians have control over our territory in Siachen as we speak. You ask us why we need an army?


  • vasan
    Jan 1, 2012 - 6:36AM

    There must be truth in this article considering all the comments below it.


  • Ashok
    Jan 1, 2012 - 7:05AM

    This is an overly simplistic assessment – it’s not necessarily off target, but makes a few too many general statements. I like your effort though.


  • Saad
    Jan 1, 2012 - 7:33AM

    why is the army popular in Pakistan again?


  • Mir Agha
    Jan 1, 2012 - 7:45AM

    Ahhh…Karachi has a heavy Punjabi population! This rambling is up there with your lesson on how Muslims worship the moon.

    P.S. This “area” was part of a British Colony. Indians are still obsessed with their notion of “india” taught in their schools.


  • Shahzeb
    Jan 1, 2012 - 8:01AM

    Fact: Pakistan becomes a financially stable country under military rule and we see more development in Pakistan under military rule.

    Fact: Pakistan becomes a nearly bankrupt country under “democracy”.

    So this answers why army is loved by Pakistani people because army are the only ones who care about Pakistan.


  • Shahzeb
    Jan 1, 2012 - 8:07AM

    I am so glad that partition happened and I’m not indian.

    Thank you Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah for partition.


  • Ashish
    Jan 1, 2012 - 9:36AM

    Dear Mr. Aakar ,
    It will be much better if you leave them to live in their paradise.
    If they are happy with claiming that they have won the wars of 48,65,71,99 let it be like that. If they say islam is a religion which allows peaceful co existence of different sects , let it be. If they say they will be the super power , let it be. If they say that they are perfect , let it be.
    We already have so many topics to be discussed from India , let us concentrate on them and go ahead.


  • M.A.S
    Jan 1, 2012 - 9:43AM

    I am still looking for the answer to the question “Why is the army so popular in Pakistan”?


  • amit
    Jan 1, 2012 - 10:01AM

    @Major Usman:
    sir , you know india sc/st litterasy rate is higher than pakistan and indian muslim according to sachher commite report . one more thing pakistan 80% muslim were dalit hindus first give them reservation like india gave them thats y india half state cm is sc/st.in last 64 years pakistani jamidar and mulla rule pakistan not any dalit muslim become president of pakistan.


  • faraz
    Jan 1, 2012 - 10:16AM

    Due to lack of education and sheer propaganda, army enjoys a better image. People just don’t know that we lost all the wars against India


  • Ak
    Jan 1, 2012 - 11:10AM

    @author – interesting thought provoking article but I would agree with some of the comments above that you are in a danger of over simplifying this. Probably as you say caste is one way of analyzing this but there are other forces at play. One of it is the elitism of the upper strata of the Muslim society itself. I dare suggest that the movement for Pakistan was dominated by educated upper class feudal Muslims. This class viewed itself as the inheritor of Mughal, Persian culture and hence the natural rulers of the sub-continent. They couldn’t see themselves being dominated by numerically stronger Hindu community. This class also viewed itself and by extension all muslims to be martial. This probably continues in today’s Pakistan where the upper strata of the society has no qualms of supporting a large army and has no problems when it’s army indulges in aggression, militancy and violence against the neighbors and now even against the US. If you listen to the rants of Zaid Hamid (who seem to have a lot of followers in Pakistan) this lends support to the above. His views might be an extreme form of what i have said above but never the less seems to make sense when looked at it in the context of the above analysis. So i guess this also need to looked from the class angle as well. Having said all of this I claim no expertise in this matter and the above that i have written could just all be rubbish.

    @ajm – author being an Indian or a non Pakistani probably makes his analysis more objective.


  • amit
    Jan 1, 2012 - 11:29AM

    I am also glad that partition happened and extrimist muslim go to pakistan I’m indian.but without whole kashmir i am not fully happy .kashmir is head of india .we take back our kashmir ..


  • Vigilant
    Jan 1, 2012 - 11:45AM

    Poor Article…..Castes have nothing to do with economy & trends of liking & disliking…..Explaining castes are good for mentioning history but not future…..One thing you forget to mention that almost all industries during British era was located in India & Karachi from where 50% revenue comes from was just a small costal town of fishermen. I belong to cast & we were considered most suitable for Army by Gooras but only my two family members were in Army are others are related to professions like scientists, businessmen, traders, Engineers, doctors etc.


  • Jan 1, 2012 - 12:11PM

    Patel sahib, good effort to foment dissensions in Pakistani society. According to you, Baloch, Pashtun are nation but Muslims are not a nation…May you please define what constitutes a nation?


  • Jan 1, 2012 - 12:13PM

    because there is no democracy in pakistan..


  • ksri
    Jan 1, 2012 - 12:40PM

    The real reason why the army remains popular in Pakistan is because its role is not discussed objectively. When Saleem Shahzad tried to pursue facts and shine light on the truth he was brutally silenced. It is now clear who was behind the crime. And keep in mind that the english language press reaches only a very tiny fraction of the population. Which journalist will forsake his/her life to question its army? If the Pakistanis have the same freedom to discuss politicians and khakis then we will get the truth. I wonder if this letter will be posted as is.


  • Noman
    Jan 1, 2012 - 12:48PM

    Akbar sahib your title is so very wrong. The army is very very unpopular in Pakistan. It was very unpopular in Bengal/East Pakistan, it is still very unpopular in Pakhtoon Khwa, Sindh, and Baluchistan. Lately Punjab has also realized its short sighted and narrow minded folly of its active and passive support for army and presently here also Army is quite unpopular.


  • srmohsin
    Jan 1, 2012 - 1:03PM

    Why Pakistan army is popular? simple 50 years of propaganda for creating the fear of India, Israel and America followed by the perception of the army being “Holy” and defenders of Islam.

  • A
    Jan 1, 2012 - 1:14PM

    Pakistan has always progress in the rule of dictatorship. Whether it is in the form of Pervaiz Musharaf ( major contribution “free media”: before his rule there is only one single channel PTV now there are many; “local government system”; “growing economy”: Pakistan was the 3rd fastest growing ecenomy at that time) or Yahya Khan ( Yahya Khan era was called golden era for Pakistan). Pakistan has suffered when there is democratic leadership e.g. 1972 Bhotto has passed the rule to nationalize all the pvt. ltd. firms and banks which resulted in increasing distrust among businessmen for several years.
    Now the current government is so much corrupt that one of its minister in a talk show says that “Corruption should be the basic right of every citizen”. This is beyond imagination.
    Our democratic system is not a good one (feudalistic and corrupt system) and we can not afford this kind of democracy.


  • A
    Jan 1, 2012 - 1:16PM

    It is Mushraf (a dictator) who gave birth to the media. Truth is always bitter.


  • Aarvey
    Jan 1, 2012 - 1:39PM

    @Major Usman:

    You being an army man I presume truth is often times alien to you. Understandable since OBL lived right under your collective noses and it was a hard call when he was in fact discovered. That was the first truth andthe second truth was that he was sheltered and fed by the military and your intelligence wing undoubtedly with the full knowledge of the kayani’s
    and pasha’s. Denying that he was within sneezing distance was the only option that was left to them. And that was and is a blatant lie.


  • Khan.
    Jan 1, 2012 - 1:45PM

    Well, our holy prophet is perfect example for every Muslim, there were no fuel in candle in his home, but he(saw) left almost 11 swords.


  • Jai
    Jan 1, 2012 - 1:47PM

    Well, Pakistan’s hatred of all things Hindu including any mentions of caste aside, it is a known fact that certain Indian castes have a natural ability for business, just like certain castes have a natural militaristic outlook. That talent has been honed over thousands of years and natural selection does play a part. In India even after independence and equal opportunity certain caste communities have proved to be more entrepreneurial than others and this might be true for Pakistan too. Likewise certain other castes have shown more affinity for military jobs. There is no promotion of Hindu caste here, just facts. The writer is just trying to analyze why Pakistani Punjab is more militarized than Sindh.


  • Jp
    Jan 1, 2012 - 1:49PM

    Superb article but pakistan schools teach history only from the Mugal era & glorifies the invaders


  • Ak
    Jan 1, 2012 - 1:57PM

    @sana – if Muslims are a nation then why so many Muslim countries!!!!!


  • Adeel
    Jan 1, 2012 - 2:00PM

    Mr Patel kindly first explain why is the army so popular in India as you have more mercantile population. Their is balance in your society. why you need such a big army.


  • Indian
    Jan 1, 2012 - 2:13PM

    The title should actually be “Should the army be so popular in Pakistan?”


  • zainab
    Jan 1, 2012 - 2:27PM

    cant wait for next week :)Recommend

  • Because
    Jan 1, 2012 - 2:58PM

    The feudalistic and corrupt system of democracy in Pakistan will never succeed and the people have no trust in such a system, therefore they trust and honor their military under whose watch they have seen their country prosper without a doubt.


  • Ishant
    Jan 1, 2012 - 3:24PM


    India is a much much bigger country than Pakistan, hence it needs a bigger army, Indian army is just twice the size of Pakistani army despite the fact that India is many times bigger.

    Islam is not a nation, its an organized religion, muslims means people practicing Islam, muslims live from Bosnia to Malaysia and from Senegal to Kazhakastan, do not tell me that you feel one nation with them.

    @Mir Agha
    Since the ancient days, “India” is a western name of the region today known as “Indian subcontinent”, you are saying that Sindh was not a part of it, but was only a part of “British India” haha, you and your 64 year old fake nationalism…in fact the name “India” has come from the western name of the river “Sindhu” i.e “Indus”, which flows in Sindh…hehe


  • MQ
    Jan 1, 2012 - 3:32PM

    Since this article is a continuation of the author’s last article (24th December), and will be followed by another article as promised by the author, the editor should assign serial numbers at the end of the title.

    Why is the army so popular in Pakistan – I
    Why is the army so popular in Pakistan – II



  • A
    Jan 1, 2012 - 4:09PM

    Will wait for the next week. But I believe in number and facts. And facts which I have mentioned in my earlier posts, points out that Pakistan has made progress in the era of dictatorship. That’s why Army is popular in Pakistan.


  • Cynical
    Jan 1, 2012 - 4:20PM


    You are right. Aakar Patel is not a Hindu.He is an Indian Muslim.


    I fail to understand what his religious affinity has got to do with his writing.
    Should we judge a piece of writing by the name of the author or by the contents of it.


  • A
    Jan 1, 2012 - 4:23PM

    First of all the campaign against Pervaiz Musharaf was initiated by the Panjab.So if anyone believes that the army is popular in Panjab, gets its facts right.
    Moreover now people need change (they are against the current system) that’s PTI (with a slogan for change and against corruption) was successful both in Panjab (Lahore Jalsa) and in Sindh (Karachi jalsa). Pakistan is united against this corrupt system.


  • Abdul
    Jan 1, 2012 - 4:26PM

    @Patel sb and the other Indians : I dun understand the point in writting such an article.
    I am a dweller of Punjab and never thought of sindhis baloachis or pathans with their castes. I treat everyone as a Pakistani. If you think Sindhis are a stable society so be it. They are a part of Pakistan and we are happy for it.
    Lots and lots of pushtuns are in punjab. SO what, they are Pakistanis and they can go to any part of Pakistan and get settled.
    For us every Pakistani, whether its a Sikh,Hindu or Muslim they are like brothers to us, nothing else matters much. Recommend

  • harkol
    Jan 1, 2012 - 5:03PM

    Pinky: There is a huge connection. Merchants are more exposed to the economic reality and will be more prudent and reconciling. Peasants and feudals are known to fight over a tree for generations! So, they are more likely to support a larger Military spend than mercantile population, which wants facilities of trade (roads, electricity etc.).


  • Jan 1, 2012 - 5:06PM

    What on earth the title of this article has to do with this article????????


  • M Karim Ahmed
    Jan 1, 2012 - 5:59PM

    as far as punjabi army is concerned this needs to be investigated.
    The number of army personnel are from Rawalpindi division which administratively falls in Province Punjab.Rawalpindi division is arid and we find no river and canal system in the division
    So the majority of people opt to join army as source of employment as there is no industry and trade opportunities.
    Likewise the people belonging from south of KPK, Swabi,Peshawar are in army.
    Sindh and Balochistan province have tribal setup so they do not want to leave their area.
    so this is not purely punjabi army.it is pakistan’s army which has representation from all provinces.
    You yourself has written about business classes who are wealthy and good at business techniques.
    in my view, the major reason for joining army is financial, if the youth is offered alternative they might think the other way.
    The people living in urban and prosperous centres like karachi, lahore,faisalabad, gujranwala have better opportunities so they do not wish to join army.The same situation is of indian urban centres


  • Max
    Jan 1, 2012 - 6:08PM

    Child sacrificed, liver offered to gods in India. This happened in Raipur, Chhattisgarh and is called high culture.
    Is there anything Pakistan can do to help you?


  • Jan 1, 2012 - 6:14PM

    @Munir Ahmad Saeed:
    Strange to note “We Muslim Punjabis do not have the business instinct…..” despite heavy odds, why bussiness is flourshing in Sialkot, Faisalabad, gujranwala?


  • nasir jamshed
    Jan 1, 2012 - 6:31PM

    I will beg the author to do a study on Muslim Sheikhs, who are a trading castes in Punjab. If the author were to visit every single town, and city of punjab, he will find out what I mean. I think it is self-delusional to write about something, of which you hardly know anything about (Punjab). I don’t know exactly where the author is coming up with 50% of the revenue, but he should know most of the it is because of the port, and good going through it. Also there is a considerable Punjabi trading community in karachi itself.

    The author kept using the word normal, which he doesn’t really explain what he means by it. I would not have cared so much to comment on this, except as a Punjabi, it is based on false information and self-delusionalism.


  • Zehra
    Jan 1, 2012 - 6:36PM

    @Nangdharangg Pakistani: You indeed are Nangdharaang-just not a Pakistani. I have yet to see an Indian saluting a Pakistani writer who has an ‘opinion’ on Indian army. But I see a disillusioned Pakistani doing so. Command respect through pride-not through maligning your own institutions even if they have issues. By God, that country India has institutional crisis like we havent seen. Only if you were more awakened and aware. The writer hasnt even embarked on the vilification of our army yet, and here you are, more loyal than the king Recommend

  • Zehra
    Jan 1, 2012 - 6:42PM

    And this is a badly researched article i must say. Pak Army’s main constituents hail not from all over Punjab, but 2-3 districts namely, Rawalpindi, Jehlum and Gujrat. Thats it. There are families who for generations have served the armed forces. Nor are Punjabi muslims incapable of good business sense. Pak’s richest man, Mian Mansha alongwith Sehgals, Tiwanas and several others are all Punjabi muslims-not Memons from Karachi, despite their success in industry.And wht does it mean when he says Sindh is more ‘normal’ than Punjab??? The guy’s clueless!


  • jagjit sidhoo
    Jan 1, 2012 - 7:11PM

    ” Today, few Muslims remain in Indian Punjab” Malerkotla in Indian Punjab is Muslim majority i should know as my wife belongs to Malerkotla there are a number of videos about the place on youtube it is a unique place in that it has no history of communal violence .


  • Vijay K
    Jan 1, 2012 - 7:16PM

    I fully agree with Shahzeb. Pakistan has progressed whenever military has come in power. We Indians would like to see a prosperous and stable Pakistan, and the earlier the military comes back in power in Pakistan, the better it is for us.


  • Indian
    Jan 1, 2012 - 7:38PM

    ” By God, that country India has institutional crisis like we havent seen.” – At least be sportive to accept the deficiencies of your self.. Sentences like the above one will only make people laugh at your nationalism.. Its blind..
    By the way you need to have a functional institution for it to be in crisis in the first place. One that is being ransacked every now and then on the false pretext of nationalism is just not an institution.. Now, who do you think has an institution to at least have a crisis??


  • PakiKaki
    Jan 1, 2012 - 7:43PM

    An indian would not need to salute a Pakistnai’s article on Indian army because Indian army remains within its prescribed limits and any Pakistani would not need to write on it. It’s you who is delusional who has kept her eyes shut to the transgressions of Pakistani army against its own people. How many times has the Indian army staged a coup against its government. How much of India’s revenue does Indian army take. It’s people like you because of whom our army remains a holy cow and their excessives are a taboo It’s people like you because of whom Pakistan can never prosper. Recommend

  • Jan 1, 2012 - 9:12PM

    In Pakistan…. We are not Punjabi, not Pathans, Not Balochies, Not Sindhis, Not Kashmiris…

    We are PAKISTANIS…………………………………………Only.



  • Ishant
    Jan 1, 2012 - 9:15PM

    ” By God, that country India has institutional crisis like we havent seen.”
    In 2009, Pakistan sent a delegation to India to, learn from Indian election commission about how to conduct elections. Last year, Pakistani education experts decided to adopt India’s education reforms by CBSE as a blueprint for education reforms in Pakistan…these are some examples of our “institutions”
    We have had a regular democracy, which has consistently given us a working Parliament, a Parliament which is respected and honored by the Judiciary and Military…we do not have Judiciary and Military constantly trying to take out the elected parliament…these are known as institutions…

    ps: we have an army, which WIN wars, again INSTITUTIONS:)


  • sohaib
    Jan 1, 2012 - 9:33PM

    Well articulated thoughts. There are defeatists in our ranks who side with the enemies to make their point. After reading comments from the Indian contributors on this site, and there are many of them, and reading this article, I m so thankful that we have Pakistan. I m so thankful that partition happened. These people spew their hatred towards muslims and Pakistan on this site. Thanks ET for letting them do it.
    In order for ET to be more credible, its editorial board must make an effort to read the fact being presented in the article. Seems like ET editors are as clueless as the author.


  • RajX
    Jan 1, 2012 - 10:47PM

    @Vigilant: Castes have everything to do with economy in this part of the world since the whole system of caste was based on skills and trades specific groups of people were good at.


  • RajX
    Jan 1, 2012 - 10:57PM

    @faria: Like the author has said, this is a series of articles so the story has just started and you are complaining that you don’t know the story yet. But I think you won’t like to hear this story. Many Pakistanis won’t. Maybe you can dislike the truth but truths can’t turn into lies just because you don’t like it.


  • Organ of Big Profit
    Jan 1, 2012 - 11:14PM

    Author is all over the place, his emotional analysis is all under the place. But he has some valid points, like Development needs to be practiced as a religion.


  • Saad Arain
    Jan 1, 2012 - 11:15PM

    India and Pakistan are two sovereign countries this is the fact of day. Indian facing a psychological problem of intervening the Pakistani issues , As we are facing too many interior and exterior threats so we need a strong army which is backed by the whole Pakistani nationRecommend

  • Hameedullah
    Jan 1, 2012 - 11:21PM

    @MohammadAli Ghanghro:
    Yes Sindhis are a nation and that is a fact. Sindhis will prove their force only if they are let in the army. We all know how small number is taken up in army.Recommend

  • nazarrabi
    Jan 2, 2012 - 2:29AM

    The Pashtun children are made to read and revere Mohammad bin Qasim, Mahmud Ghaznavi, the Mughals and the heroes of Pakistani wars with India while nothing is taught about their own history, heroes or culture as if these nations had no history, no heroes, and no culture prior to August 14, 1947. The Pakistani state has imposed its ideology, culture and language at the cost of the indigenous people and this blatantly is cultural genocide.

    Ironically, the Pakistani state — instead of regretting this transgression — considers it an achievement. Forced to learn in alien languages, the Pashtun masses’ children are massively handicapped and therefore cannot compete with the elite education system’s products. Hence an ever widening gap between different regions and strata of the population is created, which also exacerbates the sense of alienation that initially arises from repression and economic discrimination.Recommend

  • hedgefunder
    Jan 2, 2012 - 2:31AM

    You need to check the meaning of word institution first and then go further and learn meaning of democracy too !!
    Sadly in Pakistan these words are purely cosmetic for the people in charge to ransavk the country !


  • aziz
    Jan 2, 2012 - 11:29AM

    Article is nothing but sheer waste of time and effort. Islam spread in South Asia because of the castist mindest of Hindus, which is clearly depicted by the author of this article. Pakistan Army Zindabad.


  • Umer
    Jan 2, 2012 - 1:51PM

    Poorly crafted piece with no linkages to the topic and just whirling around with the cast business. Totally absurd.Recommend

  • Ak
    Jan 2, 2012 - 1:56PM

    Any more pearls of wisdom from you? Eagerly awaiting.


  • obaid
    Jan 2, 2012 - 7:34PM



  • Wasim
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:32AM

    indians should get the message through their thick heads that we don’t want anything to do with them. No one in Pakistan likes indians,, be it a Punjabi, Sindhi, Baloch, Pakhtun, or Kashmiri…everyone in Pakistan hates indians and are glad they are not indian.


  • Aarvey
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:01AM


    Do you also realize that we Indians with ‘thick’ heads do not want anything to do with Pakistan or pakistanis even remotely. 1947 ensured that india’s social fabric was cleansed and all indians- repeat all Indians – are happy it happened. Bangladesh is also happy that they have their own identity today and are on their way to prosperity. But the issue here is why many pakistanis living abroad still want to be identified as Indian rather than ‘pakistani’?


  • Aarvey
    Jan 3, 2012 - 8:18PM


    Wasim … No answer? Or do u smell a conspiracy? Truth is hard but It helps if you look at it objectively.


  • Akbar Khan
    Jan 6, 2012 - 5:59PM

    I think the article is poorly written and lacks sense as well as credible evidence. It also reflects the authors preoccupation with Hindu caste system (which itself is the worst discriminatory system that human kind can invent). The author has tried to impose the idea that 99% of Pakistani’s dont like their Army and its just surviving on a handfull of Punjabis. I think this is other way round. The reasons for a slight Punjabi domination are obvious, since pre-partition times People of Punjab and NWFP have been in the martial jobs. However today a sizeable number of Sindhi also form part of the army. It is a mistan concept that establishment doesnt allow Sindhi or Balochis to join forces. Infact they are encouraged to join. Its their own free will based on their cultural and socioeconmic norms that they have been less inclined towards army jobs.
    As far as expenses on militray expenditures are concerned, may i only ask the author that Why India is maintaining a nuclear powered Army over 1 Million?? Is she afraid of Sri Lanka or Bhutan??

    Army is and will remain popular in Pakistan becoz it has its roots amongst common people of Pakistan, because its visibly corruption free, becuase it utilizes its resourses in better manner compared to many other institutions and coorporations and because people have trust in it.


  • Umair Khan
    Jan 8, 2012 - 10:53PM

    He has not mentioned that Nuclear Bombs are even more then India despite that our population is 7th of them, economy 10th and Army half.


  • Lance Corporal Chilli
    Jan 12, 2012 - 5:45AM

    Major sahib,

    Please enlighten us about the facts sirji.


  • ehtisham nazir
    Jan 23, 2012 - 8:29PM

    DEAR PATEL ! FIRST of all it gave me immense pleasure to learn from you that pak army is very famous.you have written this article based on your own opinion.Also the facts u had provided are just from your own side. why pakistan army is famous ?/ its answer is very simple. whether is flood or earth quake, whetheis it is dengue or terrorism only pak army stands with the nation.army is doing that thing which is in favour of pakistan.Today army is the only discipline instituion left in the country. RAW is always behind all this propaganda to malign the arme dorces of pakistan. let me tell u that pak army is full capable of defending the country.Recommend

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